KCB’s Lions Den is a Kenyan reality TV show which features successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists seeking to invest in local businesses as well as support ideas from startups/entrepreneurs across Kenya. The show, which receives more than 5,000 young applicants in every season, has been airing for two years and so far the Lions have pledged a sum of Sh 372.1 million across different businesses owned by Kenyan entrepreneurs.
If you’ve watched the show you will confirm that it provides great insight into entrepreneurship, business skills and above all ideation. As part of the viewers who celebrate the show here are 6 lessons that I learnt from KCB’s Lions’ Den. You can use these tips for any pitch that you need to do.
Do your research
The panel is made up of business moguls who are willing to empower others with some insights on success. With this in mind, it is important to note that they will be interested in someone who knows about their business and who has done due diligence in covering their bases.
Recognize the value proposition you offer to the customers. Recognize your niche and strategically position yourself in the current market.
Anticipate the type of question they will ask and give the appropriate answers. Merge your vision to Lion’s business (you probably know who among the moguls will best fit your business) and recognize your position as an entrepreneur.
Capital is the heart, the idea is the soul
This is a mantra that every entrepreneur should bear in mind while approaching the lions. The two aspects are intertwined in almost all areas of a business. Therefore apart from presenting a good idea, have a clear picture of the margins, projections, revenue and the profit your startup is making. This will help you come up with the capital you need from an investor as well as know what you can offer in return as equity.
Execution surpasses domination
The lack of execution skills undermines a good idea equating it to wishful thinking.
One of the panellists Kris Senanu emphasises that “We look for good ideas. They don’t have to be great. Nonetheless, have good ideas but great execution skills.” This just goes to show how actions speak louder than words. Hence it is not only wise to put ideas into practice but it is important to strategize on how you will implement them.
Keep it simple.
Profits, growth, projections. Highlight these key areas in your pitch. What are the selling points in your idea or your product? Ask yourself what is the next stage for your business. Defend your idea and present a realistic vision.
You’ve probably noticed that the panel investors, also known as the Lions seek various entrepreneurs who embody a blend of certain characteristics on top of a good idea.
They want an entrepreneur who is passionate, hardworking, innovative, committed to their idea, a strategic thinker and above all someone with a do-or-die attitude.
They are curious about what fuels your passion therefore as an entrepreneur always bear in mind that an idea is as good as the presentation you make. Tell a story, and couple it with realistic figures. Show the investors that you know what you need. Remember they are also businessmen and no one ever refused a good deal. Therefore speak figures, highlight how you’ve come to that conclusion and justify your position as a business owner. Business Deals: The Art Of Negotiation
Plan your key points and present them systematically.
Know and speak out about what you have and what you don’t have. Know what you need and who among the lions will get you to your goal.
Have a competitive spirit but value teamwork. It is noticeable from the roles you have assigned to your teammates and what they contribute during the pitch presentation.
It is wise to watch other entrepreneurs who secured an investment from the moguls to see what they had in common. Find out what were the exceptions, their mistakes, the level of maturity of their businesses and most importantly how you can leverage their success strategy.
Remember never to give up but be ready to give in if it means the success of your business.
In Kris Senanu’s words, “Rather than just provide entrepreneurs with capital, the real value is mentorship and helping them find strategic support so they can grow in their different capacities and industries.”
Therefore even though you don’t walk out of the lions’ den with a deal, remember the opportunity to present your ideas to the world, the courage, confidence and lessons you learn from this encounter will be priceless. You can use these tips in pitching to any investor.
I am a writer with interest in hair, beauty and fashion. I also like telling stories, but most of all I enjoy listening and reading them. If I'm not doing any of the above, I will be trying to crack a game of chess or monopoly. My biggest fear is being ordinary.